HE would lie in the big bed in the dark and listen to the
obscure night noises or to the distant howling of a hound, or
for the creak of one of the old boards under the pressure of a
foot, and wait for her to come. The latch on the door would
lift slowly, the iron making a small, clean clicking sound
when the bar was finally released from its bracket, and the
door, white in the shadowy room, would begin to swing steal-
thily inward. The heavy door moved softly and evenly now,
but the first time she came to the room, he had been
wakened from a half drowse by the squeal of the hinges as
the door swung inward. He had risen up in bed, ready, before
seeing the uplifted hand, to call out in his surprise.
Later, she had oiled the hinges.
" The door didn't screak tonight, did it?" she had demanded,
putting her head down on his shoulder so that the breath of
her whispered utterance was against his ear.
" No, it didn't/' he had said, and then remembered that it
had made no noise. At the time he had not noticed, being so
engrossed with his eagerness, waiting to see if she would
"I fixed it," she had told him.
"Don't blow in my ear, it tickles."
"I oiled the hinges," she had whispered. "I put some of
papa's gun oil on them. When you all were out hunting this
afternoon. Don't you think I'm smart?"
"Well, why don't you thank me? Maybe I saved your
life. Maybe papa won't hear that door now, and shoot
"He probably would," he had said.
"Aren't you going to thank me," she had demanded, "for